It takes a whole community of us here at BCFES to help ensure access, retention, and graduation of all students with a lived experience in foster care. To show our appreciation, we are featuring fellow staff members to share a little bit of their world and the passion they have for the students we serve.
Michael De La Cruz
Student Care Advocate at P.A.T.H. at Alamo Colleges
Could you share a little bit about yourself?
M: My name is Michael De La Cruz. I am a Student Care Advocate for the P.A.T.H. Program at Alamo Colleges. I work with former foster and adopted youth to help them receive resources on and off campus. There are P.A.T.H. advocates on every campus, and I am currently a Student Care Advocate for St. Philip’s College, Palo Alto College, and Northeast Lakeview College.
What is P.A.T.H.?
M: P.A.T.H. stands for Partnering, Assisting & Transforming for Higher Education. We are located within the Student Advocacy Centers at each Alamo Colleges campus. We provide support and resources to former foster and adopted youth so they can continue to pursue their educational goals.
For example, we can help with tuition fee waiver letters, and we can provide students with emergency funds to use for groceries, utility bills, rent, etc. We have ongoing services such as our clothing closet, counseling services, diaper banks, and food pantries. Around the holidays, we host a Friendsgiving for P.A.T.H.sters and their families; attendees have won Spurs tickets and zoo tickets through a raffle.
What does your typical day-to-day look like at P.A.T.H.?
M: Every day is different, but I am always meeting with students and helping them get the resources they need. Today, I signed up a student for the P.A.T.H. program and answered questions for another student about their W-4 form. Yesterday, I spoke with a student about their decision to change their major. Students are only required to meet with us twice a semester, but we are always here when they want to check in and meet with us about anything.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
M: P.A.T.H. and BCFES are both great programs for students. Sometimes students are not aware of the benefits available to them, so we’re here to help and guide them in the direction they want to go. Whether it’s sharing helpful campus events or talking about what you want to do with your education and your life, we’re here to help.
Michael, thank you for taking the time to share your work with us. We appreciate you and all of the work you do!
Learn more about the P.A.T.H. program here.